Automation, Liquidation and Reverse Logistics

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on January 9th, 2024 10:04 am

Getting started in E-commerce can be a challenge as there are often a few hidden barriers to entry. As well as initial investments, supply chain management and developing an effective logistics system can often be a challenge. Automating as many processes as possible helps to save on time, cost and manpower. One of the most effective ways to introduce automation in your eCommerce business is through chatbots. There is a popular misconception that chatbots are complex and expensive to make. Appy Pie's eCommerce chatbot builder lets you do it in minutes, without breaking your bank!

Positive chatbot experiences make all the difference

Employing AI to engage with potential customers can help with conversion rates and provide a stellar customer experience. Simplr ran a thousand-person survey to find out more about how consumers from different generations interact with automated systems like customer service chatbots. The findings confirm that the attitudes to these services differ in Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. The study found that a seamless transfer from bot to human results in 60% of consumers being more likely to encourage brand loyalty. But when a chatbot cannot solve the query and does not escalate it to a live agent, it can harm the business's reputation - with these experiences making consumers 60% less likely to remain a customer. The study also found that there are stark generational differences when it comes to desirable customer service interactions. 20% of Gen Z consumers prefer to start with a chatbot, compared to only 4% of Boomers. Meanwhile, 71% of Boomers prefer to start by talking on the phone with a live agent, compared to 41% of Gen Z consumers. Additionally, while only 20% of consumers overall said they were pleased to see chatbots pop up on a site when they were not actively seeking help, this experience was unpopular with Boomers. 53% of Boomer respondents indicated that uninitiated chatbots "annoyed" them, compared to only 28% of millennials and 24% of Gen Z consumers. "The damage current chatbot vendors are wreaking upon brands is disastrous. It has come to the point that customers expect to leave the interaction having had a poor experience," said Daniel Rodriguez, Simplr CMO and co-author of Experience is Everything. “These results underscore the importance of taking into consideration who your target audiences are when you are designing your chatbot experiences," said Rodriguez. "Those that appeal to younger audiences can afford to be more 'chatbot forward' in their CX approach, while those who sell to Boomers need to make sure there is human assistance easily available."

Giving products a second-life

E-commerce giant Amazon’s efficiency makes using its platform incredibly attractive for consumers. The easy access to free and convenient returns only serves as an extra buying incentive. $761 million worth of merchandise was returned in 2021 and around a ⅓ of these returns were discarded. Amazon has announced its plans to work towards zero returns waste, launching dedicated programs for reselling, liquidating, and donating returned items. Using liquidation companies to re-introduce return products into the marketplace has become a great solution to the waste problem. Returns that aren’t sent to liquidators are often destroyed - via incineration for an energy offset or sent to a landfill. Optoro estimates that the US returns alone generate an estimated 16 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions and create up to 5.8 billion pounds of waste each year. Liquidators take on a product in any and all conditions, sorting, packaging, palletizing and re-selling them, giving them a chance at a second life. In 2021, a record of 16.6% of all merchandise sold were customer returns, going up from 10% in 2020, further signifying the need for the liquidation process. There are benefits for everyone involved in the products lifecycle. "Buying one used item saves 82% of its carbon footprint and consumers are really starting to make smart choices. The boom in liquidation is really fueled by consumerism and how it's shifted from new to use," said Kristin Langenfeld, CEO, and co-founder of GoodBuy Gear.

Efficient reverse logistics save money

Reverse logistics include every aspect of a company’s procedure product’s life post-sale. Value-added services can include repairs, refurbishment or recycling, and redistribution. Large companies with efficient logistics can spend around as little as 1% of their total supply chain costs processing returns, while smaller companies with poorly managed reverse logistics processes can spend around 10% of their total supply chain costs on their returns. To stay competitive, sellers are taking a leaf from the Amazon playbook and offering fast and free returns shipping to attract customers, but providing this service can be costly. Around 30% of all products bought online are returned, compared to around 9% for traditional brick and mortar stores. The high volume of returns can end up being anywhere from 3% to 50% of a company's total shipments. Offering buying incentives is not the only thing that Amazon does well. It also saves money by reducing shipping and storage costs with its state-of-the-art automation systems, standardizes processes at fulfillment centers, offers fast and effective reverse logistics course or training for its’ employees, and recovering previously profits with its re-commerce programs like Amazon Warehouse and Amazon Renewed. With the power of connectivity, you can make your work life easier. Make your apps work for you, empower automation and increase efficiency with Appy Pie Connect! Creating an efficient workflow is as easy as a pie! Automate all of your tasks - whether complex or simple, in a matter of minutes. Save hours on repetitive work, get vital support, benefit from top-notch security protocols, and access to the tools you need to scale your business; all without writing a single line of code. It’s as easy as 1 - 2 - 3:
  1. Create - Connect your selected apps to allow them to communicate and share data
  2. Automate - Automate broadly with multi-step connect flows which will help you create your own workflow
  3. Enjoy - Now sit back and let your automation do the work for you, saving on time and manpower

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie